Our Competitions


Chorley & District Writers’ Circle in association with Fiction Feedback

Theme: Natural Justice

Congratulations to our winners!

1. Frances Johnston Deeper Than It looks

2. Ann Abineri Hellion’s Cottage

3. Michael Callaghan Scalpel

Judge’s Summary

The shortlist this year comprised six strong stories, all with deliciously satisfying endings in which the villain of the piece received their comeuppance in the most imaginative and creative ways possible. Most had even managed to weave some humour into these macabre happenings. I really wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of any of these authors!

Of course, strong shortlists make for a hard job judging. In the end, it came down to the handling of the theme and the strength of the story in terms of narrative drive and characterisation.

The winner, Deeper Than It Looks, focused clearly on the theme of natural justice and its impact on the two main well-drawn characters. The extra dimension of a second narrative voice gave the story depth (not always easy with such a tight word count) and provided a clever and engaging way of tying up the ending. Congratulations!

In second place is Hellion’s Cottage, a story which introduced an intriguing supernatural element in a highly original and organic way. The author combined this with a distinctive narrative voice and some dark humour to produce a compelling read.  

Scalpel is the third winner, a well-paced story with great characterisation. This story explored the idea that the forces of justice can be more complex and intertwined than we humans might realise.

Congratulations to all the winners!


Ann Abineri Hellion’s Cottage

Michael Callaghan Scalpel

Frances Johnston Deeper Than It looks

Pamela Morrison Suffer The Little Children

Brian Price Bluebells and Soup

Josie Turner The Mini Break



Linda Menzies The Last Push

Lorri Nicholson Gertrude Fleishman




Our 2018 competition was for a short story on the theme of Natural Justice.  The story should be 2,500 words maximum and the deadline is: 30 September 2018.

Entry fee is £5 and there are prizes of £100, £50 and £30.

Please include as a separate file or document a  cover sheet with your name, contact details, title of story, first line of story and total word count. The story itself must not feature your name or any identifying details.

Use Short Story Comp as your subject in your email entry.

This year, entrants also have the option of paying for a mini critique (minimum 250 words) for an extra £20. Mini critiques are only available if you’re paying for an entry at the same time; if you wish to pay for a full critique of your story before entering please check out the Fiction Feedback website.

The story should not have been published in print or a first-prize competition winner.

Entry is via email at info@fictionfeedback.co.uk and payment is via PayPal: go to www.paypal.com and pay info@fictionfeedback.co.uk .

Payment and entry can also be made by post. Cheques should be made to Fiction Feedback and sent with your typewritten story to CADWC Story Comp, The Writing House, 3 Dale View, Chorley, Lancashire PR7 3QJ. Ensure it reaches us by 30 September 2018.

Please make sure to tell us in your email or letter if you’d like a critique as we don’t always marry up payments and stories until the end of the competition.

Enquiries: info@fictionfeedback.co.uk

Judging, and the critiques, are provided by Fiction Feedback, the editorial consultancy run by Dea Parkin, Secretary of the Crime Writers’ Association.

The winner will be announced at Write Now, the Circle’s annual event for writers looking to get published in Chorley, this year held on Saturday 17 November 2018. Tickets will be on sale later in the year.

Subscribed members of Chorley & District Writers’ Circle are entitled to one free entry to the competition only. Critiques must be paid for. For full rules, please see below.

Word count – 2,500 absolute maximum, excluding title .

Deadline – 30th September 2018

Judge – Fiction Feedback

Entry fee – £5

Prizes – 1st: £100     2nd: £50    3rd: £30

Publication – The three winning stories will be published on our website and promoted on our social media sites.  Shortlisted authors will be listed with their titles on the website. All rights remain with authors.

Eligibility – Stories should not have been published in print at all, or on more than two digital platforms. Stories should not have won first prize in any other competition. We would prefer to see new, original work. The use of the theme will be a key factor in judging.

No author can win more than one prize.

If insufficient entries are received to cover the prize value, we reserve the right to cancel the competition and refund all entries.

Entry is online or by post. Use a cover sheet to provide your name, address, email, contact number and the title and the first sentence of your story. Ensure your name and details do not appear on the story itself. If emailing, please email two separate documents: the cover sheet and the story.

Email: Send to comp@fictionfeedback.co.uk and put ‘short story entry’ as the subject.

Post: Send your story and cover sheet to Natural Justice competition, The Writing House, 3 Dale View, Chorley, Lancashire PR7 3QJ.

Payment is by by PayPal or cheque.

PayPal: Make your payment to info@fictionfeedback.co.uk .Please ensure we can identify the payee with the author entrant: use the story title or first sentence as reference.

Cheque: Make out your cheque to Fiction Feedback and send it to: The Writing House, 3 Dale View, Chorley, Lancashire PR7 3QJ. If you send a cheque but email your story, please include a copy of your cover sheet with your cheque so we can marry it up with your online entry.

If you experience any difficulty or uncertainty about entry or payment, please contact Dea Parkin on dea@fictionfeedback.co.uk. We cannot enter into any discussion about your story itself, only the mechanics of entry. Thank you – and good luck.

Judging Criteria

  • Interpretation of theme
  • Originality
  • Narrative drive, characterisation, plot, technique
  • Grammar, spelling and punctuation

Updated DP 25 May 2018

Short Story Competition 2016 – Toxic


First: Heatwave by Sue Hoffman

Second: Ten Little Indians by Stuart McLean

Third: Pins by Charise de Becker

Congratulations to all three prize-winning authors.

Judge’s Comment: Fiction Feedback

This year’s shortlist included an astonishing range of stories. I was impressed by the impeccable standard of prose and the care and attention that all of the authors had paid to editing. There were some fascinating interpretations of the ‘Toxic’ theme with many writers preferring to stay far away from poison though there are murders by other foul means, including voodoo and brake tampering.

It was very difficult to select from such a storng shortlist but in the end the three selected just edged it on originality and use of the theme.

The winner, Heatwave, was the most inventive of all, creating a strange place reminiscent of Carys Davies’s stories and with a unique twist on the theme.

Congratulations to the three authors and especially winner Sue Hoffman.

Short Story Competition 2016 – Toxic


Dear Sis – John Holland

Heatwave – Sue Hoffman

The Howrah Boy – Jan Hardy

Motor Skills – Gordon Aindow

Pins – Charise de Becker

The Novel – Josie Turner

Temptin’ Bison – Dianne Bown-Wilson

Ten Little Indians – Stuart McLean

Congratulations to the shortlisted authors.

The winner and two runners-up will be announced at Write Now.

Short Story Competition for 2016 – Now closed to entries.

The theme is ‘Toxic‘. We are looking for stories of up to 2,500 words.

First prize: £100
Second prize: £50
Third prize: £30

Please note no entrant can win more than one prize. Your story must not have appeared elsewhere in print or won first prize in another competition. All three prizewinners’ stories will be published in our annual anthology and entry to the competition confers agreement to that. All rights remain with authors.

Judge is Fiction Feedback

2016 competition rules.

Payment can be made via Paypal – mail@chorleywriters.org.uk or a cheque made out to Chorley & District Writers’ Circle and sent to: The Writing House, 3 Dale View, Chorley, Lancs PR7 3QJ. Your story submissions can be sent to the above address, or to our email address (the same as our PayPal address … mail@chorleywriters.org.uk

Please ensure we can marry up your payment and your entry if sent separately. Please include a cover sheet detailing name, address, email, word count and first line with your entry and ensure your name does not appear on the story manuscript.

Judging criteria

  • Interpretation of theme
  • Originality
  • Quality of writing; narrative drive, pace and flow, characterisation, plot, technique
  • Quality of prose; grammar, spelling and punctuation.

We hope that’s helpful and look forward to receiving your entry by midnight GMT 10 August 2016.

Shortlist Judge: Fiction Feedback editorial consultancy – visit www.fictionfeedback.co.uk Please note: if paying via Paypal please ensure we can match the author’s name and title to the emailed or posted entry. If this button doesn’t work properly, the email address to make PayPal payment to is: mail@chorleywriters.org.uk  May we draw your attention to rules not included in the separate pdf:

1) The Circle reserves the right to cancel the competition and refund entry fees if the entries are insufficient to cover the prize fund.

2) No entrant is allowed to win more than one prize.

3) Any British citizen is eligible to enter even if you are not currently living in the UK.

While the entry fee is £5 for one story, you may enter two stories for £9 and three for £13.
Subscribed Circle members are entitled to one free entry.

Good luck! 


Previous Competitions

2015 CADWC National Short Story Competition Results

This year Chorley & District Writers’ Circle received a good complement of entries for our national competition; stories of fewer than 2,000 words on a local and intriguing theme – ‘Chaos In Lancashire’ We enjoyed reading some very entertaining stories. All were judged anonymously.

It was difficult agreeing on a shortlist as different stories appeal to different people, but by using a set of guidelines and a marking system that we perhaps ought to patent we eventually reached consensus on the shortlist.

Fiction Feedback, the critique and editing service, judged the final shortlist of six. Congratulations to a very talented and imaginative bunch of writers.

First prize £100 : Last Delivery by Michael Callaghan of East Renfrewshire

Second prize £50 : Steampunk Striker by Peter Ford of Lancaster

Third prize £30 : Just Around the Corner by Nora Parkinson (aka D J Harrison; story submitted pseudonymously) of Chorley wins £30


Eric’s Grand Day Off – Sal Page, Morecambe

Fifty Shades of Chaos – D J Harrison, Chorley

 No Eccles Cakes By Request – Fred Canavan, Isle of Wight

 Judges’ Comment

The ideas for chaos in Lancashire were many and varied! We had alien landings in several stories, and variations on that. We had a slew of historical stories. We had a number featuring crime, for example our breath-taking first-prize winner, and several more with their own original take on chaos: red roses dying off, the statue of Eric Morecambe coming alive (printed in Aware) and a… steampunk striker. Words fail us; you’ll have to read that one, and you can, because it was the second-prize winner and is also printed in Aware. In the end, the three stories that won impressed most with how they engaged with the reader, delivering a storyline that involved and tugged on the emotions, and with the quality of their prose and overall structure.

The three winning entries are included in Aware, a yearly anthology of Circle members’ writing. The paperback is available for sale or you may download a pdf from these pages: see Home or Members’ Work.

Thank you to all who entered in 2015 and good luck this year!

2014 CADWC National Short Story Competition Results

Our 2014 CADWC National Short Story Competition was on the theme ‘Your Sins Will Find You Out’.  The winners were announced at our inaugural Write Now event at Astley Park in Chorley. As always, getting to a shortlist, then choosing the winning stories, wasn’t easy.  Congratulations to those who made it, especially the prize winners.

1st Prize – £100 Russian Dolls by Clare Marsh of  Kent

2nd Prize – £50  The Moral Laws by Helen Anderston of Hampshire.

3rd Prize – £30 The Receipt by Rosie Seymour of Cumbria


Character Assassination – Harry Green, Merseyside

Meek Inheritance – Tony Noon, Chorley Writers’ Circle member

Possession – Sue Hoffmann, Higher Bebington, Wirral

Sat Nav – Helen Griffiths, Hook, Hants

Simon’s Sin – John Rutter, Preston, Lancashire

The three winning entries were published in Aware, the Circle’s annual collection of writing in paper and digital formats. Available here for download. AWARE 2014

Stories were judged by renowned critique and editing service Fiction Feedback. The Circle’s general sponsor was Open Circle Publishing. 

2013 CADWC National Short Story Competition Results

In the 2013 CADWC National Short Story Competition on the theme of ‘Betrayal’ we had a record entry of over 80 stories and whittling them down to the final shortlist of eight was a difficult if highly enjoyable task. Prizewinners’ stories are all contained in our digital publication Aware, available for download here:

AWARE 2013

1st prize £100:  The Lifesaver by Cathy Lennon of Lancashire

2nd prize £50: A Warm Welcome by Christine Griffin of Gloucester

3rd prize £30: And a Monkey Howled by Harry J Green of Liverpool


Trefor Lloyd of Lancashire
Cathy Lennon
of Lancashire
Veronica Bright
of Cornwall
John Ward
of Hertfordshire
Steve Wilson
of The Fylde

The final judging was by our sponsors Fiction Feedback, the acclaimed critique and editing service. Visit www.fictionfeedback.co.uk

Judge’s Comment

This year’s finalists offered a breathtaking array of styles, voices and approaches. The quality was outstanding with all of the last eight showing considerable writing ability. Perhaps the outstanding feature was the range of interpretations of Betrayal. The shortlist included tales about a child exposing an affair, a man pre-occupied with a rabbit, deception in an office, an addict with a secret, and a private detective with a mysterious client. The top three just edged out the rest on all-round quality of writing, and stood out for their ingenuity and originality.

Copyright for all the wining stories remains with the authors at all times.

The Circle’s general sponsor was Open Circle Publishing  – thanks are always owed to them.

2012 CADWC National Short Story Competition Results

Judge’s Comment

The shortlist as a whole was of an exceptionally high quality, without a single story at which I could have levelled any criticism interms of how the theme of Dangerous Liaisons was fulfilled. The prose quality of each entry was strong and engaging, and judging the entries was largely based around originality of content or handling of challenging content, since every shortlisted writer proved him- or herself to be a competent and engaging storyteller.

First Prize

The Plum Orchard                    Corrinna Toop, Aylesbury

Second Prize

Facing Up                                Steve Brodie, Lytham

Third Prize

Comrades                                John Dixon, London


Dangerous Liaisons           DJ Harrison, Chorley
True Love                               Elle-Marie Hinchcliffe, Chorley
Loose Chippings                 Sal Page, Morecambe
Gypsy Cab                             Susanne Roff, Fife
Room No. 13                        Corrinna Toop

Circle comment

We had a record number of entries and many were of a very high standard.

We were delighted to see on the shortlist two of our own members from Chorley, Elle-Marie Hinchcliffe and DJ Harrison. It’s the third consecutive year that Dave Harrison has made the shortlist, so congratulations to him, while it’s a first for Elle-Marie, one of our most talented short story writers, so well done to her, too. Congratulations also to Sal Page of Morecambe, who made it on the shortlist for the second year running. Biggest congratulations must go to Corrinna Toop of Aylesbury, who achieved a first in our annual competitions – her two entries both made the shortlist, and of course one, The Plum Orchard, was the eventual worthy winner.